Monday, April 28, 2008

Fantastic Four #556 - Marvel

Well, in typical Fantastic Four fashion . . things take an incredible turn for the worse . . before they get better. Reed's old girlfriend, Alyssa Castle and her husband, have created, in a parallel dimension, Nu-world. It's going to be an exact replica of Earth, except for the armaments and weapons, so when something happens to our world, everyone will have a place to go. To me, it seems like an awfully big gamble for something that may or may not happen. Unless . . they know something we don't. Anyways, Alyssa doesn't want to leave her Nu-world completely unprotected, so she also built a giant robot that she calls CAP . . Conserve and Protect. It's programmed to seek out any threats to it's world's new life and eliminate them. The problem? It's broke out of it containment cell, and has found it's way to our Earth. If there's something that we'll never have a shortage of . . it's threats to our existence. Starting with an Air-Force base in Alaska, this thing appears to be on a world-wide "seek and destroy" mission. They've contacted SHIELD, and they sent some of their best and brightest, but . . they've had little or no effect. So I'm not sure what Sue, Johnny and Ben think they can do. On the final page of this issue, Reed is on his was back from a mission in another galaxy. "Here he comes . . to save the day!" Mark Millar writes this, so you know there's no shortage of great ideas here. In fact, if anything, he may be throwing so much stuff at us that we don't know everything that's going on . . quite yet. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. Bryan Hitch does the art for this story-arc. It's amazing. He really packs a lot of stuff in to every page. Right now, this book is really living up to it's name.

Echo #2 - Abstract Studios

I really like what Terry Moore's done with this book and this character so far. I assume we're watching the evolution of a hero. And if so . . I think he's drawing it out appropriately. After all, if something like this happened to you, how readily would you accept it or come to terms with it? And like most people . . but not me unfortunately . . she doesn't immediately make the leap from strange happenings to hero . . or even super-hero. If anything, that's the last thing that's on her mind. I think, she thinks, she's infected or being taken over by something. She tries to do the right thing, by going to the doctor and asking for some medical advice. But, since this is something that most doctors have never had to deal with . . he's at a loss and he ends up thinking that maybe it's some kind of joke. Especially when he touches it and it zaps him. It appears to instinctively try to protect it's wearer. But, on the other side of the story, the government group that was in charge of the recently failed tests, are getting closer to finding out where their little miracle suit went. As if that weren't enough . . they've brought in some kind of specialist, named Ivy, to try to find and retrieve it. From the looks of next issue, this chick looks like a real Bitch! But hey, shes just doing the job they paid her to do. Terry's strengths, I think, are in his character development. He has a way of getting you to know a character, that really draws you in and makes you care about them. I find it really interesting to watch him do that, with this character, completely from scratch. I mean there's no previous appearances . . no revamped or re-imagined character . . and she wasn't a part of some team somewhere. This is something that happens completely at random, to someone at random, and we're watching the growth and development of a brand new person. Well . . she's not brand new . . but her situation is. I think that's fantastic. Thanks, Terry, for another interesting and inventive story. I can't wait to see where we go from here.

Tiny Titans #3 - DC

I know. I know. This book is for the kids. I couldn't agree more. But . . I just had to pick it up. Like I said before, I find it kind of reminiscent of those old Archie comics and stories. They're just a quick fun read. And they make me laugh. Like the kids school . . "Sidekick City Elementary". That's hilarious. And, like I've said before, if it gets the kids . . and a new generation of readers in to these characters . . then I really don't see a down-side. The Johnny DC line is up to like 8 or 9 books now. So that's 8 or 9 books every month that maybe some kid who never read comics before is checking out. And, with the variety they have, they can pretty much accommodate anyone's tastes or interests. That's why I like the concept. But still, even though I hate to admit it, I kinda' dig these books. They're completely different from everything else I read and, like I said, they're fun. When it comes down to it . . we're all still just kids inside. Right? Or do I just need therapy?

Gen13 #19 - WildStorm

Finally! After all this time . . finally we get to see these kids in action . . sort of . . together. Ever since they came to town, IO's taken a "separate and defeat" type attitude with them. Caitlin's really been the only one who didn't take things at face value, and thought that something may be up. She tried to warn the others, but no one wanted to listen. They were all just happy to be hanging out in their new lives with their new friends. I think, they didn't want to believe that anything was wrong. But, being who they are, and being where they came from . . I don't think they're ever going to have that luxury. The mistake, I think, came when IO ordered each of the leads in the separate projects to take out the Gens. These guys are nothing if not survivors. Right up until thier new friends tried to kill them . . they honestly believed that everything was copacetic. Right now, I think that is their biggest weakness' . . their naivety and lack of "real-world" experience. Well . . they're getting a good dose of it in this issue. Now they're trying to take the game back to them. They're trying to take the initiative and take the fight back to IO. Or at least to the part that's in charge of their "15 minutes" operation here in the city. At the end of this story, the only thing that stands between them and accomplishing that, is a bridge, a helicopter and a whole bunch of bullets. Next issue we'll see how they make it out of this one. Carol Barberi is the artist on this book right now. I like the feel that he has for this story and these characters. I also think that Simon Oliver's story really feels like we're taking this team back to it's roots. You know . . like when they came out the first time . . way back when. I really like this book. I hope it survives the re-invention of the WildStorm Universe. Please!

Batman Confidential #16 - DC

Well Rags Morales wasn't on Nightwing this month, but . . he was still here. This is the conclusion to the Wrath story-line. Or as we guessed . . this one's called Wrath Child. The guy has a couple of things working against him this issue. He thinks he killed Nightwing, Robin, and the Commish, last issue when he blew up his house. But actually that was a ruse by Batman to try to get him to play his hand. And he's got Grayle Hudson, the first Wrath's love interest. That works against him because, in Batman's eyes, once another life is put on the line . . he has a tendency to really amp up his game. So he think he and the Batman are mano e mano, when actually Batman's still got all the help he's always had. And with that help he finds out the Wrath Child's real identity. Once that information is in Batman's lap . . the game, for all intents and purposes, is over. He with the best intel . . . wins! Batman uses some of his tricks to get he and Grayle out of harms way, and then, with the help of Nightwing, they psychologically cripple him. They make him face what has happened to him . . and why. Essentially, that's what takes him off his game and allows our dynamic duo to take him in to custody. But I really don't think this is the last we've seen of him. He's only in Blackgate prison after all. It's not like he fell off the face of the Earth. And now he has even more reason to go after Batman & Robin . . Nightwing. I really enjoyed Rags interpretation of the Bat. I honestly don't believe this guy gets enough credit for his work. I also enjoyed Tony Bedard's story. I thought he played it out well. Plus it leaves the opening for future entanglements. Overall, it was a good story-arc.

Superman Confidential #14 - DC

Ok. I have to admit . . I have mixed feelings about this one. This is the final issue of this series. That . . I find sad, because I actually like the concept of these Confidential books. I like that we can get a story from anywhere within the Superman, or Batman, myths. I like that they can do this retro-active continuity type thing, where they can put things in place, before, to explain a current story-line. And I like that we can get different types of story-lines than maybe we get regularly in the main titles. But, that being said . . I thought that this story-line . . obviously the final one for this book . . was kind of lame. To me, it just seemed more like the type of story we would've read in any one of the Superman titles back in the 70's. Which at the time . . were great. But, I feel, the stories, and the writing, has become much more evolved and sophisticated since then. Actually, I think the reason I feel this way was a combination of things. Yes, I thought the story was rather simple . . and lame. But, I also, really, didn't like the art that much either. Now when they relaunched the Green Arrow book, and Phil Hester did the art there . . it was pretty decent. But, at that time, there was a great story to back it up. To me it just seemed like the art didn't fit with the story . . this time. Maybe I shouldn't be overly critical and should just enjoy the book. But, I thought, it was distracting. Don't get me wrong. I definitely think Phil is talented. I couldn't do it. But, I just don't think the story and the art complimented each other much this time. So while I was sad that this series has been terminated . . I was also upset that it left on such a sour note. There's no other Superman stories out there, that they couldn't have ended it with more of a blaze of glory? Anyways, I'm going to miss the book. I just hope, maybe, they're going to try something different. Maybe go at it from a different angle. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Titans #1 - DC

Finally! After all the hype and build-up! Finally . . this book has come out. I thought it was everything I expected it to be. I thought Judd Winick turned in a great story. This issue is actually a prelude. We see how someone is attacking, and killing, anyone who's ever been associated with the Teen Titans. Of course our first guess is Slade. But, we really don't know anything yet. But, I thought Judd did a fantastic job setting up this story. This story actually picks up right after the Titan's East Special. Remember when Vic's attempt at putting together a Titan's East team met with disaster? Well we still don't know who did that. Power Boy was the only member actually killed, but all of them, including Vic, were seriously maimed or injured. With everything that's been going on in their lives, Bruce is just now telling Dick about it. Also all the members of the New Teen Titans have also been attacked, but they've been resilient enough to evade capture or bodily harm. This is the group that I feel was the greatest. Wally, Dick, Donna, Kory, Garth, Roy and Raven have all been put back together again. Dick feels that there were some magical influences to these attacks. So their guess is . . . Trigon. Another fantastic part of this book was Ian Churchill's amazing pencils. I really like his take on all of these characters. The action sequences with Dick being attacked were amazing. The scenes where he depicted Kory sunbathing by Animal Man's pool were sexy as hell. And I really like the look that he gave Garth when he was attacked in the Doom Patrol castle. We even get a scene showing our current team being attacked by something that, I think, either looks like Terra's work, or the Anti-Monitor's. I thought the book was incredible . . and a fantastic set-up. My only negative about this whole thing? You just know that Ian's not going to be on this book for that long. It's negative, and sad . . I know, but the reality is, Ian's such a huge talent that I'm sure he's being made all kinds of offers all the time. How do you pin a guy like that down on 1 book, for any length of time? They already have Joe Benitez listed as the artist for the next 3 issues. Ian's still doing the covers though. I'm not going to say anything negative about Joe. He's a talented guy too. But . . I wish it could've been Ian. Anyways, putting that aside, I thought it was an incredible book. Even if you're not a Titans fan, you should pick this one up. It had everything you could ask for in a great book, and I think it's only going to get better. Titans Together!

Justice Society of America #14 - DC

First of all, I have to say, I thought the regular cover by Alex Ross was superior to the alternate, $10, cover by Dale Eaglesham. Although that one was cool too . . how do you compete against Alex? Speaking of which, I think Geoff Johns and Alex Ross are doing a fantastic job with this story-line . . and these characters. I'm not sure what prompted the teaming up of these two great writers, other than the Gog / Magog story-line, but whatever it was . . should happen again. I thought that the Alex Ross / Jim Krueger co-plotting and scripting was pretty magical. But this? This, I think, goes beyond even that. This is a classic in the making. I like that even though we're dealing with this whole Kingdom Come story-line, which in and of itself is great . . we're also still getting regular glimpses in to the actions and characters of all the newbies. We even see the Infinity Man this issue. Another aspect, which I hadn't really thought of, is that in Countdown, and Death of the New Gods, we're seeing the end of the Fourth World. The Fifth World is about to come in to creation, and it looks like Darkseid may be the only survivor of the previous one. Well, in that same context, both figuratively and literally, it appears that Gog is the sole survivor of the Third World. So does that put him in the ranks of Darkseid? Or, is he actually trying to do what he thinks is right, and from his perspective the obvious course of events . . even though they're in conflict with our current beliefs and this Justice Society of America team. I'm not saying that's right or wrong. It just gives you a different way of looking at things. Maybe there's something there that we haven't seen, or had a chance to consider . . yet. In this issue, the team sends Sandy in to do some reconnaissance. Gog returns him to them on a pike. But, can you really kill a man whose made of the Earth? Now that he's come to them, the team is really trying to put the hurt on him. But, it doesn't appear that they're making much headway. I think Dale Eaglesham is doing an incredible job on the art for this series. I've said it before, but I was worried when I read that he would be the regular writer. I hadn't thought he'd really done anything that impressive . . up till now. Now? Now I think he amazes me every month . . and he's the perfect person for this book. There's some months that I think this title even surpasses the Justice League title. Which is also . . phenomenal. As long as these books stay at their current creative level . . I think they're going to continue to be a couple of the best books out there. A fantastic effort from all involved. Thank you!

Green Arrow and Black Canary #7 - DC

I'm a little confused about the art this issue. On the cover it says Cliff Chiang. Same as usual. On the inside, it looks like Cliff's art. Well . . close. But on the inside credits it says Mike Norton. If it is Mike's work . . he did a hell of job making it look like Cliff's. Which I wouldn't doubt because I've come to think of Mike as a pretty talented guy. Plus, if he did fill-in, they would probably want to keep things as similar as possible since it's a new book . . with the flow and all of that. Maybe it's a collaboration, because there's a few panels that just don't look quite right . . if it were Cliff's. Anyways, that's just my observation. I could be wrong. Maybe Mike's name is just a typo. Anyways, I still enjoyed the book. Although, I thought that the Green Lantern cameo was kind of lame. Ollie calls him in, because they're dealing with aliens in the ship they brought down, but when Hal goes to examine them he finds that they're just costumes. However I did like the way they get these guys to talk. You think that they're going to interrogate them with some beating and torture. After all, with the talents of Ollie, Diana and Mia they could probably be pretty inventive. But they decide to go another route. They bring in some sex-freaks and threaten to shoot compromising video and put it out on the internet. These guys are ready to sing. Anyways, long story short, they find out that the ship was owned by a thief named Dodger. Somehow he came across it, and now he rents it out to people who have a need for it. 5 weeks ago, he rented it out to someone who was desperately trying to stay hidden. "That exchange was very complicated. They insisted on running through many channels . . all kinds of buffers." After some more questions, it turns out that they work for the League of Assassins. They have something to do with Ra's al Ghul. Our group has now jumped in to a whole different kettle of fish. But you know they'll give it everything they got, because they're looking for Connor and his attackers. I've really been enjoying this book, but, unfortunately, this issue wasn't as action packed as the previous ones. Of course that'll change when they fall into the sights of the League. Also I would like to see Mia utilized a bit more. If not, after-all, why is she really along for the ride? I've really enjoyed Judd's take on these characters so far, and this storyline . . but, this issue . . it just seemed a bit off for some reason. I can't really pinpoint it, but . . it just wasn't to the same standard as the rest. Of course, that's just how I viewed it. Take it or leave it.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wolverine #64 - Marvel

Wolverine continues to be one of my favorite characters. There's something about he and Mystique being together that's just . . electrifying. She's like the character that you love to hate. How come the bad girls . . always look so good? It's no wonder men can't understand them. We actually have 2 stories going on right now. After the Mutant Messiah story-line, Scott decided that he'd had enough of Mystique and her particular brand of mayhem. So he asked Logan to take care of her. Which was fine for Logan because, really . . . all he needed was an excuse. Eventually he ends up in Afghanistan, for some reason, chasing her through the mountains. Eventually, she made it to the point where she's taken the place of a Congressman. She's trying to put the Marines between her and Logan. Anyways, while all of this is going on, we're also getting the story of how these 2 misfits first met. It was actually in the Mexican dessert in 1921. But the majority of the story takes place in Kansas City. Basically, she had set up shop there, with a band of thieves and con-men. What she didn't have was some muscle . . which is where Wolverine comes in. Long story short, they decided the next job was to knock over a Federal Reserve Bank. I'm not sure how she did it, but she sets up her crew. When they break in to the vault, there's policemen already there waiting for them. So basically, how she turns on them is somehow related to what she's doing now. I don't know how . . I can't really see it . . but it's gotta' be there. The final page is Mystique . . la' naturale . . with her blazing red hair and weapons to bear. Man she looks hot. Meoww!! Jason Aaron writes it. I thought he did a pretty decent job. I liked when Mystique stole some soldier's Humvee. "Dude . . Miss December just stole our truck." I thought some of his dialogue was a bit forced, but, really, that's just a personal preference. I just like it when there's something besides "comic book" dialogue. I thought Ron Garney did a pretty decent job with the art also. I thought the pages from the 20's looked better than the ones from the present, though. Again . . just my preference. I still enjoyed to book a lot.

the Amazing Spider-man #556 - Marvel

We don't really find out much more about these Mayan warriors this issue. But, the good doctor does explain the situation a little better. " . . I spear-headed the development of a computational operating system using multi-dimensional algorithms as base code. Y-you see, reality consists of much more than the four space / time dimensions that we can perceive. Mathematics proves other realms exist . . but our brains lack the sophistication to incorporate them into our model of "reality". My operating system works from a model of the universe that contains over ten dimensions. An interesting side effect of this is that binary input commands become useless. Instead of 1's and 0's , we input abstract shapes and symbols . . ", which he shows them a picture of. That's when they make the connection that these same symbols are tattooed all of the the bodies of the warriors. Meanwhile, Spidey is trying to work his way across town to save the scientist's comrades who are locking in a delivery truck . . in the middle of a snowstorm. On his way there, he comes across some kind of being . . I'm guessing a Mayan god-creature. It's looking for blood for it's sacrifice. Spider-man convinces it that he's a priest, not a victim, and it let's him go. After finding the rest of them, it appears that Rabin, the scientist, summoned this being forth by killing Dave, one of their group, and offering his blood up as a sacrifice. I'm guessing, that's when the Mayan's showed up, stopping him. So now, apparently, this being is loose, but since Rabin didn't finish the sacrifice, it's running around without a purpose until Rabin can offer up another to tell him what to do. At least, that's my guess. Also, this is confirmed, because back at the station, we find out that Rabin is also covered with these symbols, and now he's trying to kill one of the Mayans. When one of the officers notices the commotion, he looks at her and says, "Hello, officer. You're just in time for church." I have to say, I like this particular chapter of this book better than the previous two. Of course part of that could be the incredible artwork of Chris Bachalo. He really turns in an incredible issue this time. There are some pages in here that are absolutely stunning. I also really enjoyed the story by Zeb Wells. This was truly an excellent issue . . all around.

Simon Dark #7 - DC

The picture's starting to become a little clearer with this issue. This group . . kind of a cross between the mob and a cabal . . has made it's move. Last issue we saw that they high-jacked a delivery truck. It was for a small company that makes and delivers hand-made soaps. They wanted to switch the normal delivery for one of their own. There's a slew of soaps floating around Gotham that look like they have little demons captured inside of them. The user uses them, and the demons work their way inside of their bodies and turn them in to zombies, or, what looks like, someone with the black-plague. Then, I guess, they go out and try to perform as much carnage as possible before they're captured. Although I'm not sure what this group hopes to obtain by instigating this mayhem. Anyways, Beth, the ME has come across a couple of the bodies, but she doesn't really know what to make of them, so she gives a ring to Kirk, the Detective. He doesn't know exactly what going on, but, somehow, he knows that Simon is the key. Speaking of which, when Simon returns to his home, under the cemetery, he finds Rachel waiting there for him. Simon's returned with a book of incantations, which he needs ingredients for, and Rachel has offered to help. We also see that Simon's face is a blank slate. I think, somehow, it's hooked in to the psychic nature of whomever he's around, and he can appear in whatever fashion makes them comfortable. If that's what he wants. I assume, if he can do that, he can tune in to their dark nature also and be whatever scares them. That's just my guess right now, though. We also see that, when Beth and Kirk go back to the Morgue to examine a victim, after they die their form returns to normal. Probably because there's nothing there for the demon to attach itself to. Again, that's just my guess. To me, the measure of a story is how much it makes you think about after you've read it. In that case, this is truly a tremendous story, because, afterwards, I'm still trying to figure out how all of the pieces fit together. I think I kind of have a picture of what's going on, but . . it still feels like there's a few pieces missing. However, I still have to give Steve Niles huge props for putting together a story like this. I think it's fantastic. Couple that with Scott Hampton's incredible drawings, and we have one heck of a book here. As I'm looking at it this issue . . I could almost see it being a movie. The problem with that though, is that they'd have to resolve things a lot sooner to maintain the time restraints. The luxury of this medium is having the time and space to draw out the mystery and suspense and truly developing the characters. I think this is a great addition to the DC library. I'm just wondering why it's not a Vertigo book?

Number of the Beast #1 - WildStorm

I'm not really sure what's going on here . . but . . there seems to be a plethora of new heroes and villains all over the place. They make reference to SkyWatch and the Authority, but . . we don't really see anyone here. In the beginning we're in some kind of science station where they appear to be keeping lots of . . subjects. In fact, in the very beginning they're dumping a vat of someone . . apparently he had an accident and they had to scrape up what was left of whomever this is . . they joke that he's a human smoothie . . they dump him into some kind of containment tube, which, I guess, puts him in the system with the rest of whomever they're holding. Does that make sense? Not to me either. Yet! Also, apparently, the program started with 666 subjects. The guys loading him/it into the system are worried that they're going to have to change the insignia. We then watch the adventures of all these villains and heroes sporting around town, whom we've never heard of. So my guess is . . they're all in some kind of shared hallucination, or dream, or something. I think all these bodies, in these stasis chambers, or whatever, are all connected and living out their lives in some dream like world. My next guess is, this human smoothie, who was just added to the mix, is going to change everything. Obviously his addition shakes up the status-quo. Anyways, that's my assumptions from the first issue. After reading Armageddon and Revelations, I'm guessing that these are the missing generation of heroes. They're probably being kept in the dream-like state so they don't rebel, or fight they're capture. But, it's only the first issue, so all of this is just pure conjecture. I have to say, Scott Beatty has put together quite a story if it gets my mind going this much. I also enjoyed the artwork of Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. This is the very beginning to what could be a very interesting series. And maybe . . the end of the WildStorm Universe? We'll have to wait and see.

Booster Gold #8 - DC

This is another one of my favorite books on the shelves right now. I can even get past my intolerance for these time-travel stories on this one. I think what I don't like about them is that if time travel were possible . . the only people that would have any power would be those that control the technology. That would be it. The rest of us would have no say so in anything. We would just be the worker ants. Plus the idea that once you change something, you can go back or forward or whatever and change it back? Please! Anyways, the stories all starting to come together. Unfortunately, our lead characters . . the Blue and the Gold . . have no idea what that is. Basically we have 3 fronts. Obviously we have our distinguished duo here trying to attack everything head-on. Maxwell Lord is the problem? Lets go get him. The OMAC's are the problem? Let's go get them. Our second front is actually trying to help them. Rip Hunter has gathered up Daniel Hunter, Michael's long distant relative and his soon to be spouse, Ms Levin. Although she knew nothing about this before this encounter. They're trying to piece together where the actual threat is coming from. Obviously when Michael went back to save his friend Ted, he put certain events in motion. Which really pissed off Rip. But there's another group out there that's taking advantage of the upheaval in the time-stream. They're sitting at the Vanishing Point, at the end of time, trying to nudge all the pieces in to place like they're playing a game of chess. Right now it seems like they're holding all the cards. They're outmaneuvering the other two sides at every turn. And really, the way they're playing it, the other 2 don't even know what's being done to them. But, I don't thing Rip is stupid. He's got more of a plan put together than he's letting on. He's not all raw emotion, like he's acting. On the final page of this issue, our daring duo are trying to figure out their next step when it dawns on Michael that they need support. Where should they get it? Why not put the old team together? The Justice League International! That's their next step. Geoff Johns and Jeff Katz are doing a great job with this story. I really like the way they have the whole thing unfolding. Also Dan Jurgens art, finished by Norm Rapmund, is probably some of the best I've ever seen from him. Together, this creative team is really turning out a heck of a book. They definitely can be proud of their work.

Batman - Death Mask #1 - DC

This was an interesting book. I'm not really a manga fan, so, at first, I was a little confused about the story. I know enough that it reads from right to left, but . . not much else besides that. I started reading the book in the right order, but then I realized that the panels also go from right to left. I reread what I had already gone through, but honestly, it really didn't make that much of a difference in my understanding of the story. Most of the commentary was such that if you didn't read it exactly right . . it really came out about the same. Anyways, I'm not familiar with Yoshinori Natsume, but it looks like he's pretty talented and avid manga creator. This issue was basically a set-up for the story. There's a Japanese company in town . . the Agurama Corporation . . visiting Wayne Enterprises. At the same time there's some mysterious killings in which people's faces are cut off. Obviously the two are related, but . . we don't really know to what extent yet. Also Bruce is having dreams about the killings. He's seeing someone in the shadows that looks like Batman . . or at least his basic outline. Obviously it's not him, but it is enough to spook him. After the reception for Agurama, he comes face to face with him in an alley. Like I said, we don't really find out to much information this issue. I thought it was a pretty good set-up though. It'll be interesting to see where this 4 issue mini-series takes us. I'm intrigued . . but not overly excited by it. It is a nice change of pace though.

Countdown to Final Crisis #3 - DC

Well, it turns out that our team actually is back on Earth . . the right Earth . . and they've made contact with the Justice League, to ask for their help. Meanwhile, Mary has taken Jimmy to Darkseid. He's decided that he's wants all those powers back that he's been storing inside of him. "Brace yourself Red. This is the part where Darkseid tears open your ribcage and beats the living hell outta your vital organs." But, as if right on cue, Superman shows up to help his buddy out. He and Darkseid just start going at it. Shortly after, the rest of the heroes, as well as Forager, show up to try to help with Mary. Darkseid, however has a contingency plan set up. He's got some kind of Apokalyptic device inside of Jimmy that let's him control his powers. He can turn them on or off. Now he's turned them on and has his whole body acting like a Kryptonite reactor. However, remember when Ray disappeared last issue? Well, it turns out he's been hiding out in Jimmy's bloodstream. He finds the devices and then does the best he can to short circuit them. It seems like it's just in time. Mary has just gotten done giving a beat down to all the heroes, and Superman lies unconscious at Darkseid's feet. But with the control shut off, now Jimmy can control the powers and he looks like a giant when he starts to attack Darkseid. Can you believe there's only 3 issues to go. I'm counting the #0 issue also. This issue was deftly drawn by Freddie Williams II. He did a fantastic job. It's really going to be a nail-biter right to the very end. What a series!

Green Lantern Corps #23 - DC

It just seems to me that this book gets better and better every month. I absolutely love it! Peter J Tomasi is doing an incredible job with these characters. And Patrick Gleason . . what can I say about this guy? When I first saw his work . . I thought it was ok. But I wasn't overly thrilled about it. Now? Now I think he's perfect for this book. On the first couple pages when Mongul is strolling through the field where the Mercy's are grown . . Patrick's art is almost perfect. The shading and the coloring are phenomenal. I really just can't say enough about the work he's been turning out. This issue the Guardians have gathered up the best of the best and are sending them on a mission in to the Vega System where they've noticed an amassing of Sinestro rings. They don't know that Mongul has like 10 of them now. It might just be me, but while the Guardians are talking to their Corps, they seem kind of mean. They seem much more emotional than I'm used to seeing them. They seem almost vengeful and vindictive. Maybe I'm just reading to much in to it, but I get the feeling that there's more going on than they're letting on. Anyways, they go in as a team, but they split up into groups. They're gathering up the bearers of the rings one by one, but they haven't come across Mongul yet. Well . . let me take that back. Arisia and Yat found him, but then they lost contact with their team members. So the rest of them don't know the extent of the threat. But on the final issue we seem them both unconscious and at the mercy of . . the Mercy's blissful touch. I think we're only seeing the tip of the iceberg of whatever Mongul's up to. I think it's going to get a lot worse before it gets better. I thought this was a fantastic issue. I'm really thrilled with this series and the way they're handling all these characters.

Wonder Woman #19 - DC

I'm sorry. Again, I like this book, I love this character . . but I thought this particular story had a very anti-climatic ending. We had such a brilliant set-up last issue. Then this issue . . it just played out kind of weak. Diana is down in this cavern trying to stop this alien ship from destroying all of Khund. Apparently the beings in the ship are nigh unto gods. They've decided that because of the barbarism on the Khund home-world that it would be better just to destroy it and start from scratch. The part I don't understand is, if they're powerful enough to do this . . why do they need a Green Lantern for a bodyguard? Anyways, for whatever reason, they have one and when Diane tries to approach the ship he hails himself as their protector. Last issue the Emperor's daughter was so impressed by Wonder Woman, that she's come down to the cave also to help. While all of this is going on, the Emperor decides that he would rather destroy his planet himself than to let some alien beings do it. Going out on your own terms . . I guess. The Green Lantern and Wonder Woman have fought to a standstill, so to honor her courage he's willing to let her go to stop the Emperor. While she's gone, Etta decides to try to talk to the gods in the ship herself. Surprisingly she makes headway. When Wonder Woman comes back she informs Kho that she stopped her father, but she couldn't save him. And Etta informs Diana that the Ichor have left but in doing so they will hold Diana personally responsible for any interplanetary crimes committed by the Khund Empire in the future. That's an awful lot to be put on her shoulders. So, to help ensure that they stay on the right path, she decides to impart her with part of the Green Lantern's power and let her be the protector of this planet. She plays it that Kaa has no daughter and Kho has no father . . a treaty . . a merging by decree. I hope she ran that idea past the Guardians. If not she'll have them mad at her also. I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. It just seemed to me that this story could've been stretched out a little bit to make it more dramatic. I mean, she just came to help and now she's personally responsible for everything they do? They're a waring murderous race. It just didn't sit right with me. I think part of the reason I'm frustrated is because usually Gail Simone's stories play out better than this. Like I said maybe it's just me. Bernard Chiang was the artist for this particular issue. It was . . ok. But hey . . next issue Aaron Lopresti takes over as the artist. Yippee! I assume we'll be starting a new story-arc, so hopefully that one will be better.

Jonah Hex #30 - DC

I like this character. I love this book. However . . I wasn't overly thrilled with this story. I mean . . it was ok. I just didn't think it was one of the better ones. Basically the whole story takes place in this little town in the middle of nowhere . . Desperation . . Population . . . . 6. Well . . 7 with Hex. He's passed out in a room above the bar. Surprised? These train robbers roll in to town, and basically want to hold the town hostage until they can make their escape. There's a couple of things they didn't count on though. First there's only 1 horse in town. Actually 2, but one of them recently died. Also, obviously, they weren't counting on Hex being in thier midst. Plus, the leader of this gang, Lucky . . in really a lunkhead. Whomever named him that, was definitely being ironic. When they arrived in town, I think, there were five of them total. By the end . . the only one left standing is the woman. That was basically it. I don't know, maybe that's why I didn't like it . . maybe it was to simple. But, like I said I really do like this book. I guess a slow one now and then is inevitable. As usual Justin Gray & Jimmy Palmiotti wrote it and Jordi Bernet was the artist. I'm not really a big fan of his. I know his work gives this that older style look, but . . . I guess it's just me.

Detective Comics #843 - DC

I actually enjoyed this issue. I don't know why, but for some reason the last couple of issue didn't really suit my tastes. I think, actually, that is was a combination of the stories and the art. I can't really pinpoint anything specific. Anyways, all that changed this issue. I really liked the whole story with the Penguin and this new club owner Johnny Sabatino. He's opening a club that's almost the exact opposite of the Iceberg Lounge. However, in the process of opening, he's having some . . property problems. Of course everyone thinks it's the Penguin, but it's actually . . I know, you can tell by the cover . . Scarface. I really like how this character has changed, with his new . . "handler". I think it's a lot more interesting than that last guy. We also get to see Zatanna this issue. Johnny decides he wants a headliner to open his club with. The best part about her involvement is the sparks that fly between her and Bruce, when their sitting in Johnny's club talking. Unfortunately, that's about the same time as when Scarface comes busting in. He wants Johnny, but when he sees Bruce Wayne he can't resist taking him hostage also. They depart in his limo, but on the final page Scarface ends up opening his 'gat on him. I thought Paul Dini did a much better job with this chapter of the story. And Dustin Nguyen is definitely finding his groove with these characters. I may have to rethink my position of this being the weakest of the Bat-titles. At least for this issue. We see how it goes in the future.

Metal Men #7 - DC

I really do like this book. I think that Duncan Rouleau is doing a tremendous job. He is doing the story and the art after-all. And, I absolutely love these characters. The Metal Men are some of my favorite characters out there. I have almost everything that they've ever been in. I have to say this series, in particular, is taking the whole concept to all new heights. We have ideas and theories floating around in here that have never even come close to being explored. I like that there seems to be a connection between their responsometers and alchemy. It makes sense when you think about it. There is a kind of magic to these characters, but Will, being the man of science that he is, never even considered it. I also like how he's worked Will's brother David in to this series. It makes sense that their would be a sibling rivalry between the two. My question about TO Morrow is, did their friendship come along later in life or has Morrow been faking it this whole time? In this series, he really seems to have nothing but contempt for both Will and his creations. My only complaint is that some of the ideas here are so complex that, when they're trying to be explained to us, I feel like I'm sitting in on a science class. It makes my brain hurt. Ha-ha! Just kidding. I understand their necessity for completion and understanding of the overall story, but it does get a little wordy. It's a comic book. We'll just take your word for it. But, that being said, I still thoroughly enjoyed this title. I was a little afraid that to much of the story would be wrapped up this issue, leaving just the aftermath for the next, but . . . almost nothing's resolved here. Duncan is going to have to wrap up this whole series next issue. But that's ok. It'll definitely be interesting. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nightwing #143 - DC

There's good news and bad news here. Rags Morales does not do the artwork this issue. Which is sad, but . . he does do the cover, along with Michael Bair. There is however a silver lining though because Don Kramer is the interior artist. I always thought Don was . . ok, but I was really impressed by his recent run on Detective. So when I noticed that Rags wasn't on this book, my sadness was quickly relieved by Don's presence. I know. It's the little things that keep me happy. Anyways, I really like the story that Peter J Tomasi is putting together here, but I'll have to admit, I was a little perplexed by the ending. Last issue, Nitewing and Robin came towards Africa in search of an island where Dick believed that Talia was still operating one of her father's bases. It ends up it's not Talia. Apparently someone else found the base and is using it to clone an army of his own design. And by that, I mean that he's been exhuming the bodies of recently deceased heroes and villains, to make use of their no longer needed DNA. It seems that he has a couple different ranks, because there's one bunch that have wings. They kind of look like angels. Anyways, Dick and Tim make their way in to the compound but are overwhelmed by sheer numbers. However, at that same time, this guy, we're really not sure who he is, is destroying the previous generations of clones because their free-will was to strong. Dick uses this image to turn the current generation of "angels" against their master. I guess the guy could've tried to fight his way out of it, or kill Nightwing and Robin, but instead he chooses to flee and destroy his base. It all just seemed kind of anti-climatic to me. Obviously this isn't the last they've seen of this guy. I guess we'll just have to wait and see where he pops up next. I really enjoyed the book. I just didn't like the ending. But that's just me. I still can't wait to see what the next issue holds for us.

the Trials of SHAZAM! #12 - DC

This was a fantastic ending to a great story. Judd Winick did a great job on this one. It took about 19 months to publish these 12 issues, but . . . that's ok. I don't think it really had anything to do with the creators, I believe it was more of an Editorial decision because of how the SHAZAM! character plays in to the whole Countdown, 52 and Final Crisis thing. I think it was all part of keeping the continuity straight. At least, that's my guess. Howard Porter started out as the artist of this series. He did the first 6 issues. And if you know me, you know I'm a big Howard fan. I was sad to see him go. But then Mauro Cascioli came on board for the final 6 issues. At first I wasn't sure, but I have to say this guy is a huge talent. He's not perfect. But . . he's close to it. He draws a pretty sinister looking Merlin this issue. I don't want to give away to much of the story, because really . . . you should read it. It really was a great series. There's a really big surprise twist that involves Zareb also. You'll just have to get it to find out what that is. In the end, as we all knew, Freddy does indeed become SHAZAM! And . . he earns it. Freddy started out with little or no power at the beginning of this series, and he clawed and kicked for everything he got. Absolutely nothing was handed to him. Oh yeah, you'll also have to read it to find out what happened to Sabina. On the final page this story is billed as . . . "The End . . . of the Beginning!" Freddy, I believe, has just become a huge part of the DC Universe. I can't wait to see where it all goes from here.

infinity inc. #8 - DC

I thought this book was interesting. It was interesting to think that this group of kids is actually a team. We haven't really approached that topic yet. But, even in their beginnings . . there's drama. Another "bad guy" has popped up in Little Bend Montana. Right now they're calling him the "bogeyman of Little Bend". We do find out that somehow he is connected to a local family. It' a mother and her son. It looks to me like maybe she lost another son, and she thinks this "bogeyman" may be him. The mother loves him, whoever he is, but the brother seems mad for some reason. He pulls a paper out of a drawer, that has the headline "Bogeyman of Albany - Strikes Again!". "It's all your fault.", he says as he looks at it. But, really, that's the most insight we get this issue. The majority of the issue is actually about the team. John Henry makes a couple of announcements this issue. First he introduces the rest of the team to Mercy. It's a little tumultuous, but, eventually, they decide to let her try to prove herself. His second announcement? He's got team uniforms. They don't look to bad. They're black & white and have the "infinity" symbol on them. Apparently they react somehow to their powers because when Erik switches to Erika, the costume changes with him. Also Natasha doesn't slip out of hers when she switches to vapor form. Although . . Gerome refuses to wear his. Oh yeah, one other thing . . . he's got code-names for them all. Natasha is Vaporlock, Gerome is Double Trouble, Erik/Erika is Amazing Woman, Lucia is Empathy and Mercy has thought of her own name . . . Vanilla. It really seems as if they're all coming together. Yeah . . right! When things look good, there's always a dark shadow somewhere. Gerome apparently has a third form. Maybe they're all aspects of his personality. Anyways, they number themselves, so he's the third and he's trying to get #2 to help him take down #1. This could get interesting. And, as if nobody expected it, Mercy is already sowing the seeds of anarchy among the team. When they get to Montana to investigate the "bogeyman", she and Erik go off on their own. She asks him, "Did you all elect Natalie as your leader?", to which he responds "Uh-uh. S-sometimes she just acts like we d-did." So I gotta' ask what her game is. I really like what Peter Milligan is doing with this story. But then . . I expected nothing less from him. I'm also glad that Pete Woods has become the regular penciller of this series. He's a very consistent artist and it'll be good to have his steady hand on these characters. I am now very optimistic about the future of this book. Thank you Matt.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Kick-Ass #2 - Marvel - Icon

Mark Millar is writing an incredibly compelling story here. This kid, who decided last issue to dress up and try to be a hero, got the shit kicked out of him. Literally! Then, as he stumbles in to the street, he gets run over by a car. Not a very auspicious beginning. This issue chronicles how he spends the next six months of his life going through surgeries and therapy just to learn how to walk again. He got messed up . . really bad. When he finally gets back to being close to normal, he decides "What was I thinking?". He gets rid of everything that compelled him to take on such a deed. Even to the extent of burning all his comic books. But, it doesn't end there for him. He's got the taste now. It doesn't matter what he may go through, or what may be done to him . . he has a hunger for the action and adrenaline. That or he really is an idiot. So he heads back out to the streets and again comes up on a situation where someone weak is being put down by someone stronger. There's these 3 Mexican guys beating up on this black guy. Despite the overwhelming odds against him, he grabs his night-sticks and jumps in to the fray. Surprisingly, probably through desperation, he actually puts quite a beating on the 3 guys. Now don't get me wrong, he got beat-up pretty bad to, but . . he gave out worse than he got. And at the end of it all . . he's still standing. He's bloodied up quite a bit, and probably broken some too, but . . he's still standing. And this is when he gets his real beginning, because this time he gathers a crowd of onlookers and somebody films the whole thing on their cell-phone. He's about to get his 15 minutes of fame. Like I said, I thought it was a fantastic story by Mark Millar. We really get a sense of what this kid feels and where he's coming from. Also, I really enjoyed John Romita Jr.'s artwork. I'm not really a huge fan of his. I'll admit the guys talented and has done some incredible series. I just don't think he's "all that and a bag of chips". Sorry! I really did enjoy it though. I think it's a fantastic concept.

Project Superpowers #2 - Dynamite Entertainment

Last issue, the Fighting Yank, with the help of the Green Lama, went to Dynamic headquarters, the home of the Dynamic Family, to retrieve the urn in which the rest of the heroes of his age have been held captive. In the process of looking at it, Mr Dynamic drops it and breaks it . . . . . . nothing happens. Nothing happens? Mr Dynamic, firm in his belief that the world is science based, had someone excise all the magical influences from the items in his collection . . including the urn. So with no magic involved . . Bruce Carter's quest is moot. Right? Wrong! The first to emerge from the dust is the Black Terror. As much as he's mad at the Fighting Yank for putting him in his previous situation, he seems to be more mad at Mr Dynamic after he tosses him off the top of the high-rise, and he lands in the street below. This issue he gets back to the top, and he is pissed off. He starts tearing in to the Dynamic Family and soon finds out that they're all robots. Meanwhile we find out that the other heroes are coming back, but they're not showing up locally. For some as yet unexplained reason, they're popping up all over the globe. The Devil shows up in some alley somewhere, the Scarab and Samson show up somewhere in the Middle East and the Flame shows up near the Hollywood sign. Apparently when he was pulled into the urn, he was with his wife Linda . . in her arms . . . and then yanked away. He's emerged full of grief and sorrow. Which kind of seems to be a recurring theme here. As the hero's emerge they're beginning to wonder what happened to their loved ones. The Black Terror, after he and the Fighting Yank retreat from their fight with the Dynamics, back to the Green Lama's home, starts to wonder where his sidekick and best friend, Tim, is at. In the back of the book there's some more sketchbook pages and we see the faces of another 15 heroes. So far I think that Alex Ross and Jim Krueger are doing a fantastic job with this story. The impressive part to me is how they've come up with all these heroes, 30 some now, and are coming up with histories, emotions and feelings for all of them. Sure they handled as many characters when they did the Earth X series, but . . . they didn't have to create all those characters from scratch. Truly an impressive task! My hats off to you guys for such an auspicious beginning. Oh yeah, I can't forget Carlos Paul's artwork. I wasn't sure at first, but now I'm convinced that he's the perfect talent for this book. His flow and framing seems great. My only criticism is some of the poses he puts his people in to. They just don't seem very . . natural. And really . . that's just a very minute complaint. It's something, I'm sure, as this title progress' he'll get better and better at. Right now, I'm actually very impressed by his work. Even with that one complaint, there's actually a lot of very good stuff in this book. This may be the best series Alex and Jim have done yet. And . . . thanks for all the hard work.

Young X-Men #1 - Marvel

Ok! This book took a twist at the end that I wasn't expecting. But, I'll get to that in a little bit. We have a new X-title here. It's not the New Mutants, or the New X-Men . . it's the Young X-Men. So I assume, this is going to be a full fledged X-team . . just with young members. And, if I wasn't sure of that, I am after we see Cyclops doing the recruiting for that team. They also aren't all just the New X-Men. There's people here we haven't seen before, and . . some that used to be "bad-guys". Apparently Scott has a very specific plan in mind, and a very specific list of powers that he's going to need to accomplish that plan. We don't know what that is yet, but I'm sure we'll see it rolling out in the next couple of issues. For now, he's taken all the people that he's gathered and gone back to Westchester to train in the "danger-cave". That's what he's calling it now. Interesting. Anyways, so far he's enlisted Nicholas Gleason, Sooraya, Eric Gitter, Santo and Blindfold. It's a good start, but I think there's going to be more members. It seems Scott's putting them together because . . "I'm reforming the X-Men. I'm doing it with and eye towards the dangers we face today. The enemies we face today. Those enemies aren't the Purifiers. As always, the biggest threat facing us come from our own. From other mutants. Specifically, a new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants." Ok! That sounds like a good idea. The plan sounds reasonable. But . . . now for the twist. The New Brotherhood is lead by . . . . Cannonball, and it's members are . . . the old New Mutants. I didn't see that one coming at all. So far, for issue #1, I thought it was an interesting story. We don't get to far in depth with motivations and reasons yet. But I'm sure they'll be coming. I thought Marc Guggenheim did a good job sucking us in to the first issue. Yanick Paquette is the artist. I'm really not a huge fan of his. I didn't really see to much to change my mind about that in this issue. But because I'm interested to see where these characters go, it is an X-book, and it's the first issue, so . . I'll keep my personal tastes to myself for now. This book has a lot of potential. I hope they live up to it.

New Exiles #4 - Marvel

This issue ended . . a bit strange, actually. Ok, our team has come to this Earth because when Reed Richards rocket came back to Earth it didn't spawn the Fantastic Four, but instead impacted the surface and altered the course of the world's history. On the good side, we have 2 factions. One is lead by Ororo, and consists, apparently, of a lot of mutants. The other is lead by Namor and his wife . . Sue Storm. Not to mention their kids, and the rest of the Atlantean nation. Speaking of which, they appear to be in the middle of a civil-war, and Attuma, who is also in love with Namor's daughter, is trying to lead the charge in Namor's stead. The bad side of all of this is lead by the Black Panther. She's determined and ruthless. It appears her plan, for some reason, is to seal the whole Earth inside an impenetrable force-field. There's a total of 6 planets in their solar system that are inhabitable, including the moon, because Stark industries have terra-formed them. Shortly before she does that, Namor and his clan rocket through the atmosphere towards the moon. Now, with all of this going on, Creed has never gotten a clear signal from the Tallus just what it is their mission is. They've kind of been playing it by ear up to this point. But when they get to the moon, and decide they need to return to the Palace because they can't find any of their team-mates, Gambit, Namor's son, decides he wants to return with them. He craves the life of adventure. It isn't until they return that they find out that getting a new team-mate . . was their mission. However, with everything that's going on back on that Earth . . I can't imagine that's the last we'll hear about it. Especially with Chris Claremont writing the series now. You now how he is about tucking away little plot-threads until you almost completely forget about them, and then he pulls them out as a surprise. I think they'll be back to this Earth in the future. Speaking of Chris, I think he is doing a fantastic job with these characters. He really seems to be diggin' this book. I also think that this is some of Tom Grummett's best work . . . ever! It's simply fantastic. I was sad to see the Exiles end, but New Exiles is, in my opinion, even better. Thanks guys!

Logan #2 - Marvel

Ok. I figured out where my mistake was. When I picked up the first issue of this book, apparently I didn't look down in to the pile farther. I love Eduardo Risso's art, and when I opened it and saw that he had done a book in black & white, I was so thrilled, I didn't question it any farther. Then I got home, read the book, did my blog and mentioned that I wondered why they had a colorist listed on a black & white book. It seemed odd to me. So I looked it up on the Mile High Comics sights. There were indeed 2 books listed . . one with a black & white cover . . one color. So the next Wednesday when I went back to the shop, I asked my guy what was up. He said they were both in the pile . . I just didn't look hard enough. I felt . . very silly! Luckily he had a color copy left . . but ironically, no black & white ones. I guess the moral of this story is to not take things at face value. It's ok to do a little digging and research before you decide what you want. Anyways, Brian K Vaughan has put together a very compelling story here. Last issue Logan, and this Lt. Warren, had broken out of the camp they were being kept at. They needed to find a way out of Japan. They came across a woman in the country, but Warren wanted to kill her. Logan stopped him and told him to go his own direction. The woman took Logan in, bathed and fed him, and gave him comfort for the night. They seemed to be kindred souls. I think Logan fell in love with her. The next day however, as they were talking, Warren comes busting in . . shoots Logan in the head, and after a bit of a battle put a sword through Atsuko. Of course Logan recovers, and is pissed. He and Warren get in this huge fight, only to find out that Warren is just like Logan. He can't be killed. He doesn't heal like him, but he doesn't feel any pain. They start hacking each other up when they hear an American bomber flying overhead. Did you forget we're in Hiroshima? I'm sure you can figure out what happened next. On the final page, Logan is stumbling across the rubble with most of his skin and muscle burned off. We don't see what happened to Warren though. I think that's what next issue is all about. I thought it was a fantastic book, and a great series. I can't wait to see how they wrap it all up next issue.

Countdown to Final Crisis #4 - DC

Well after last issue, where they single-handedly destroy the Earth that Solomon had sent them to . . they get a bit of a respite this issue. But . . not much. As you can see from the cover, Mary is trying to come to terms with herself. Does she like her wholesome image . . or, does she enjoy the power? She sways towards the power this issue, but I don't think she's fully committed yet. I believe she can come back. Anyways, when the world was almost done last issue, Jimmy boom-tubed everyone back to what hopefully is their real Earth. For all intents and purposes it appears to be, but we don't really get anything solid to confirm that with this issue. Never-the-less, everybody splits up because they just want to go home. However, that's when Mary runs in to a bit of trouble, because at her home . . she finds Darkseid waiting for her. And he has in his hands, literally, the power that she left behind back on Apokolips. He's willing to give it to her and all he wants in return is . . . Jimmy Olsen. It appears that Karate Kid or Una didn't make the trip with them this time, so Ray Palmer seems to be a little lost. What's his purpose now if not to stop the Great Disaster. It's almost anti-climatic for him. But the rest of the team? They have a new mission because Mary does indeed come back and swoops up Jimmy. So now . . they're going to have to find him. A fantastic issue, with only 4 to go. With everything that I read that's planned . . I think it's going to be a busy summer in the DC Universe.

the All New Atom #22 - DC

I like the way were going with this new direction here. It's a little out there, but . . not way out there. Well . . that's assuming that you can accept the fact that a man has millions of miniature alien . . . things, in his bloodstream, and, now that he's figured that out . . they're out to kill him. If you can accept that . . . then it's just your normal everyday book. Rick Remender has recently come on board as the scripter. I have to say, I like what he's done so far. He seems to be responsible for the current story-line, so I have to give him an "At-a-boy!" We also have a new artist with Pat Ollife. He's hot off the Four Horsemen mini-series, where he did a fantastic job. His stuff looks just as good in this series. Ryan has 2 problems going on here. First, there seems to be a problem with his size controls. He's shrinking uncontrollably. Not a lot, but a little bit every day. Also he has that alien organism that he pulled out of his blood-stream running around rampant. He tried to shrink it down, to get rid of it, but it appears that every time it swallows somebody . . it gets bigger. Which leads me to believe that they aren't actually dead . . . they're just trapped inside the large alien blood capsule. Oh no wait . . my bad! Actually he's got 3 problems. On top of everything else . . it appears that Dwarfstar has returned to give Ryan a hard time. "The true test of a hero . .", and all that.

DC Special: Raven #2 - DC

This book is different, but . . I have to say . . I like it. Marv Wolfman's been connected to the Teen Titans for quite a while now, and this story . . is like nothing he's ever written before. Who knew he had it in him to chronicle the lives of a group of teen-age high-school girls? Do you remember Damion Scott? He did the art on the short-lived Batgirl series. Anyways, he does the art in this series. I remember now why I liked him so much on Batgirl. He's got his own unique style, and, in this series, he gives that a bit of a psychedelic edge. I really, really like it. The story revolves around this doctor that's trying to bring his daughter out of a coma, using some cutting edge theories. He starts out trying to bring her out with sound waves . . specifically, Infrasound. He has some success, but it isn't complete. So now he decided to use emotion. How do you use emotion on someone who's in a coma? Well, you obtain Psycho-Pirates mask, also known as the Medusa Mask, and try to direct it's energies. Yeah! Good luck with that. There's a reason that the Psycho-Pirate went insane. Anyways, this doctor's lab, or institute, is located not very far from the new High-School that Raven is going to now. Actually, Rachel is her new secret identity. We all know that Raven's powers are emotional based, so the spill-over from the doctor's attempt are literally driving her insane. Also because she has no idea where it's coming from, she has to assume the worst . . . Trigon's trying to reassert himself. And, things are about to get worse. During one of the doctor's tests, there was a huge spill-over in to the school. A whole group of kids started acting really strange. So now . . the doctor wants to use students to experiment on. This doesn't bode well. I thought this was a fantastic book. I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Plus, there's a Cyborg mini-series coming out also.

Justice League Unlimited #44 - DC

This was actually quite a touching story this issue. From the Mirror Master? Who knew? Anyways, it's actually set up from the perspective of Evan McCulloch's son. He's writing a story for his class about what it means to be a hero. He's talking about how it's all the little things that someone does for someone else, that makes them a hero in their eyes. Even when he finds out that his dad is the Mirror Master, the notorious villain, he still looks for a good deed in his actions. He's on TV, holding some people hostage, when in the melee a kid is threatened by a falling scaffold. Evan makes the leap to save him. This title is normally set up for the younger readers, but, this issue especially, I think, will be something they can relate to. He's not really talking about his dad, he villain. He's talking about his dad, the hero. His hero! I actually thought it was quite moving. But then I am a sap for the "father & son" theme. It gets me every time. It's a great book . . a great cast of characters . . and a fantastic imprint. Go Johnny DC! Go!

Supergirl #28 - DC

Supergirl's going to cure cancer? That's what she promised that 5 year old boy last issue. Unfortunately she's got no ones support. And I mean no one! Superman has basically brushed her off. He more or less told her that he's to busy to even bother with her. Wonder Woman has basically laughed in her face. So now she's turned to . . . Mitchell Shelley. You know . . the Resurrection Man. Well . . here's her plan. Mitchell's powers are that every time he dies . . he comes back with a different power. She wants to kill him over and over again until he comes back with the power to cure cancer. Mitchell's not to keen on that idea, but . . Kara's pretty determined. Unfortunately, after he finally concedes to her wishes . . she can't bring herself to pull of the task. Not even for the sake of the little boy. However, for whatever reason, he does want to help her see this through to the end. So he gives her the name of a doctor . . a researcher actually, who may be able, and willing, to help. Also unfortunately . . Doctor Luzano is in prison right now. Kara breaks him out and demands that she, Mitchell and the good Doctor, all proceed to his secret lab so they can make use of his nanotech discoveries. If nothing else . . she is tenacious. However, on the final page, Lois and Clark are at the Daily Planet when they get the news of Kara's deeds. "This one's mine.", Clark says, with that stern look on his face. I enjoyed Kelley Puckett's story, but I'm not overly thrilled with Drew Johnson and Ray Snyder's art. Ron Randall even pitches in a little this issue to help, but . . it doesn't, really. It's not that it's terrible art. I suppose . . it's ok. But it's definitely not in a style that I'm thrilled with. I'm only concerned because I would really hate to see this book crash & burn. I really do enjoy the character.

Moon Knight #17 - Marvel

Of the 17 books in this series so far . . this one made the most sense to me yet. Which really says a lot, because . . . well, because this character, and this story, is still pretty . . out there. If you put any other hero in the Marvel Universe in to this situation . . it most definitely would not work. Not even close! But the Moon Knight, or Marc Spector in particular, is especially suited for this type of drama. I'd like to say that I think Mike Benson is doing a superb job on the story-lines. He's picked right up from his predecessor, Charlie Huston, without missing a beat. I'm also thrilled to death that Mark Texeira and Javier Saltares have become the artistic duo on this title. It's bad news for Ghost Rider though. Speaking of which, I'm really surprised that the Ghost Rider and Moon Knight haven't crossed paths more often. Wishful thinking, I guess. Anyways, now, it seems that Moon Knight has gone over the edge and is becoming an executioner, as well as judge and jury, by killing his victims, and leaving a crescent moon carved in their foreheads. At least that's what the media would have the viewers, the police, the government and SHIELD think. We know different, but, that's because we know that Carson Knowles, who recently was released from prison, is actually responsible. He must have a pretty big hard-on for Moonie if he's willing to go to all this trouble to set him up. This issue ends with Marc in his hanger arguing with his pilot for shooting those guys on their last excursion, when all of the sudden . . . BOOM!! They're surrounded by SHIELD agents, and Iron Man. "Move one inch Spector and you'll be nothing but a stain on the ground. We've got some things to discuss." Overall I thought it was a fantastic issue, and now . . I can't wait for the next one. A great effort from all involved.

the Boys #17 - Dynamite Entertainment

I love this book. But I have to say, after reading this issue, I'm starting to get why they had to switch to an independent title. I'm sorry. Not that they had to switch . . like they were forced to, but they probably felt they had to switch . . in order to do the type of stories that they wanted to. I guess. Anyways, I don't know where Garth and Darick come up with these ideas, but . . I love 'em. The blood on the issue of this cover is literal, but . . . you have to read it to figure out what it means. Let's just say . . it's the first I've ever seen it in a comic book. If your intrigued . . pick it up and take a look. Now that we're up to issue #17, Garth has a whole slew of plot-threads floating around out there. Right now we're working on the one between Hughie and the Blarney Cock. He's been . . resurrected, and Butcher wants Hughie to take him out. Meanwhile, Hughie has a romance budding with Annie. And things go . . to a new place this issue. Also, Mother's Milk has a mystery of his own. It has something to do with his home, and his mother. But really, that's about all we know right now. The Females mystery is still floating around out there also, but we don't really see her this issue. To me, this appears to be a very well thought out book. I don't think there's a whole lot that happens in one of these issues, that isn't directly related to some plot-thread that's going on. Garth and Darick seem very deliberate with everything they say and do. These guys should be very proud of their work here. To say it's incredible . . is an understatement. It's a fantastic book, and if you're not buying it . . you should be.

Midnighter #18 - WildStorm

We learn a little more about this operation this issue. Very little actually, but . . something is . . something. Right? Our 8th generation guy has beaten up the Midnighter, stolen his implant to operate the "doors", and gone to the Carrier in the Bleed. It turns out that Lucas . . the Midnighter's new alias in Harmony . . was just a means to an end. Which means that these guys had some pretty big cajones if this was their choice for infiltration. But, I guess . . he was accessible. Anyways, it seems that he's really after Jenny Quarx. As he works his way across the Carrier, he dispatches most of his obstacles pretty readily. He has a specific counter measure set up for each person. But, before he can get to Jenny, she opens up a door and sends him back to Harmony. "Door. Return to sender. Yeah, let's shut down Midnighter's door capability and while we're at it, mute his com implant. Huh. Not too embarrassing." But when he first got on the ship, and the Engineer mistook him for the real deal, he was in the room with the miniature solar system that powers the Carrier. So I'm betting that he's got some kind of booby-trap set up in there . . just in case things don't go as planned. At least, in my opinion, if he was a villain worth his salt, he would have contingency plans set up. It seems like he was nearly perfectly prepared for everything else. But now that he's back in Harmony, and face to face with Lucas . . . we'll just have to wait until next issue to see what's going to happen. I think Keith Giffen is doing a fantastic job with this story. But then, he always was a very adept scripter. I am also suitably impressed by Lee Garbett's pencils. He's not perfect . . yet. But he certainly shows potential. With the absence of a regular Authority book . . this one needs to step up to fill the void. So far . . so good.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

the Amazing Spider-man #555 - Marvel

Well, with this story-arc, Zeb Wells comes on board as the writer, and fabulous Chris Bachalo is the artist. Which makes his stuff even better looking because Tim Townsend is his inker. It says on the bottom of the splash-page "Gale, Guggenheim, Slott & Wells . . Spidey's brain-trust". So I'm guessing that even though we're rotating artists, we'll stick to these four writers. I do have a question about that, but, I'll save it till the end because I don't want to appear negative right off the bat. Anyways, I like these 3 issue story-arcs. With the different artists they almost seem like a stream of Spider-man mini-series. But, they're all tied together with the intricacies that's going on in Peter's life. We have Aunt May, unknowingly, working for a bad-guy, the Daily Bugle in upheaval because of the new owner and the health issues with JJJ. And that's just the stuff with his supporting cast. Peter has to deal with, no job, no apartment, no relationship, and someone who pick-pocketed him and may know his identity running around out there, and a series a murder victims all found with Spider-tracers on them. Not to mention him feeling guilty about what he's been putting 'ol JJJ through, and the fact that he hasn't registered so technically . . he's an outlaw. That's just the background stuff that happens every issue. In the main story, starting new in this issue, Spider-man teams up with Wolverine, because they seem to be fighting some kind of Ninja's. We catch back up with Spidey's relationship with the New Avengers. We see him eating some cereal in the Doctor's house, but covering his face as he's doing it. He and Wolverine get a warning about something that's supposed to happen there at 4 o'clock, so they agree to meet back then. What they find is some Ninja's chasing a scientist. Actually they're Mayans. After Spidey and Wolverine take them down, and Spidey is dragging them to the nearest police station, the scientist explains that this all came about because of some algorithms that they were trying to re-create that dated back some 300 years to the Mayan culture. The closer they got to solving them, the more threats they got from Mayan extremists. Until finally they showed up at their door and tried to capture them all. So now, at the end of this issue, Spidey has to go out and find the truck that they have the rest of the scientists stashed in. Oh, and did I mention, all of this is happening in the middle of a blizzard in New York City? Anyways, I really do enjoy this series. I don't really miss the other books, because we're getting 3 issues a month now. But, here's my question. They cancelled 3 other titles to take it down to 1. Now they're putting out 3 books a month instead of 4. And they're using 4 writers in the rotation. So, basically, they're using the same amount of resources on 1 book as they did on 4. But, they have 1 less issue coming out every month. Maybe it's just me, but I'm having a hard time doing the math here. I'm sure . . . eventually, we'll get some new Spider-man titles . . I'm just confused by the logic. Oh well. I guess I'll just enjoy what we got while we got it.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Action Comics #863 - DC

What a fantastic way to wrap up this storyline. Geoff Johns is really doing a phenomenal job. This story is gripping and compelling. Even though Earth-man is the bad guy, you almost, at the same time, feel bad for him. Come to find out, he and the rest of the JLA are all just Legion-rejects. Building on that rejection, they just basically all over compensated. Especially Earth-man. At the same time, you see how the other ones did something constructive and used their energy to form the Legion of Substitute-heroes. They may not ever be called upon, but they operate under the assumption that one day a situation may arise where they can help to make a difference. Today seems to be that day. The Legion is trying to take down some of the heavy-hitters, and at the same time get some of their teammates out of some delicate situations . . such as Sun Boy. So the Subs get in there and create a diversion. You know they aren't going to last for long, but all the Legion needs is a little time to make a difference. It's funny, after they rescue Sun Boy, they have to bring him back to consciousness in order to switch the Suns back to yellow. "You need to kiss him, Chameleon Girl. You know as well as I do . . . as soon as a pretty girl comes within ten yards of him, he lights up like a star. By the way . . he prefers brunettes." POP!! He's awakes. The sun switches back to yellow, and Superman, who's falling from the atmosphere after his fight with Earth-man, recovers his powers just inches before he hits the ground. Which means . . . it's a new ball-game now! It takes Superman, and most of the Legion, but eventually they take Earth-man down. And really, it's just in time because some of the aliens were starting to gather just outside of our atmosphere to declare war on Earth. That is also averted. I also wanted to say that I am very pleased the Gary Frank is on this series. He really does a tremendous job. The thing I like about him also, is that while his work is amazing, and current, it also seems to have a little bit of that feel of the old Curt Swan and Kurt Shaffenberger artistic style. It almost has a bit of a retro feel to it. It was a fantastic book, and story-arc. I'm sad that it's over, but I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

Friday, April 18, 2008

WildStorm - Revelations #6 - WildStorm

Unfortunately, this issue doesn't really resolve anything. We don't learn who's behind this whole thing with the missing generation of heroes, unless we're just building on the government conspiracy thing. We don't learn why these people went missing, or even how they did it. All we know for sure is that it happened right around the time of the end of World War II. We also don't learn what, whomever is doing this, hopes to accomplish. I mean, if your trying to bring about the end of the world . . . there's not a whole lot to gain, and there really isn't much of an upside. That being said though, our terrific trio of fem-fatales has a nice little adventure through the island of Gamorra, and more specifically a little face-to-face time with Kaizen. All they really want is some of the information he has in his storage banks. There was a time when John Colt, posing as Kaizen, had taken his place. That's how they learned about his vast data-banks. They end up leaving with what they want, but it was pretty close there. They almost had to marry him, becoming part of his harem, or at least satisfying him before he would allow them to leave. But, when they found out what they were after and why, it seemed to amuse him. He's a sick 'ol dude. Hadrian and Zealot actually stick around to see what they learn. Which helps because Hadrian access' the information for them. They find out, whatever's being planned is huge, and they appear to be cloning on of the supers. Finding out which one, though, is proving difficult. The people in the bunker in Nevada only refer to him as patient-zero. And anytime one of them tries to talk . . their head dissolves. They come face to face with one, but all it keeps saying is "Reap what you sow. Change or die.", over and over and over again. They're really ugly. They look like decomposing zombies. In the end, Nemesis does destroy the complex, but Mr Majestic has to pull her out at the last second. Oh yeah, also this issue, Zealot does tell Savant that she's her mother. But it happens by accident, and she kind of blurts it out. Believe me when I say, it didn't go over to well. Anyways, this series leads right in to the next . . Number of the Beast. That's the next mini-series, and hopefully we'll get some more information out of that one. I thought Scott Beaty and Christos Gage did a pretty decent job with this story. I would've liked to have gotten some more information, but then what would be the incentive to read the next series? I also really like the way Wes Craig progressed as and artist. I thought he did a fabulous job, and you could see him improving every issue. I liked the book, but, it really leaves you hanging.

Authority Prime #6 - WildStorm

This is another book that I bought, really, because it was an Authority book. I never really got in to StormWatch all that much, so some of the characters in this mini . . I'm not really familiar with. I mean, I only know who Battalion is because of the PHD title. But, even with that deficiency, I still liked this one. Of course, what's not to like about Darick Robertson's art. It's phenomenal. But then, obviously, that's part of the reason I like the Boys so much too. Also, Christos Gage seems to be getting better with his stories. I've seen a definite improvement since he first started doing some of these WildStorm titles. This is one of those series though, that leaves more unanswered questions than it satisfies. Like this Rose Tattoo character. Henry so easily sways her to turn on her teammates, but then Swift and the new Weatherman, Henry's son, get her to turn her back on him, really, without to much effort. And now that she's been killed, she's been brought back somewhere. We know it's somewhere in Arkansas, but we don't know if she the Spirit of Life, or the Spirit of Murder. Obviously she's hanging around for some future storyline. And, the main antagonist of this story, Henry . . is he dead, or not? When they got to his bunker he appeared, but it was just a computer program programmed to act like him, in it's hologram form. Then, somehow, that program got transferred in to one of the cloned meta-human bodies that had been growing inside. I'm not exactly sure how that could happen. And now, apparently, it thinks it's Henry. At least that's how it was talking when it was trying to take down all these heroes. And, on top of that conundrum, it appears, at the end of the issue, Henry's program has transferred itself yet again in to Henry's son's body. Again . . how? Another tidbit that's hanging around for some future storyline. Like I said, I enjoyed the book, but . . there's still a lot of questions.

Countdown to Adventure #8 - DC

This ended up being a great series. Adam Beechen and Allan Goldman, ended up having some work to be very proud of here. Allan hasn't been around for long, that I know of, but I first noticed him on the Superman titles. I thought he was ok. However, as he's progressed through this book . . he has definitely improved. This guy has some serious potential. Anyways, when they recharged Kory, she used her powers to cure Rann. Now they're back on Earth, and she needs to do the same thing for these people. However, the Healers have their drones flying all over the place . . and up everybody's you-know-what! Eventually, Buddy uses his new powers to communicate with the Healers, and gets them to call off the cleansing until they can try to cure things with Kory. After all of that, it's kind of anti-climatic. Adam goes back to Rann to be it's champion . . Kory's going back to the Titans . . and Buddy decides he just going to settle in and enjoy his family for a while. Well . . that is, until the Rann / Thanagar war explodes. Also Lady Styx is not very happy about he set-back on these 2 worlds. In the backup, Forerunner, after commandeering a Thanagarian vessel, finds out that . . . it's out of gas. So they're stuck . . floating around space. That is until they come across this galaxy farm. It's a place where new planets are born, until they can be taken out to the star-system in which they'll live. Long story short, she ends up escorting the planet, but in order to protect it, she has to give it some of her blood so it can make anti-bodies. Actually more like Golems . . to fight the invading horde. Obviously they win, but the planet offers her a new place to call home. It'll be teaming with live soon, and since she gave up some of her blood, all of it, down to the smallest amoeba, will basically be a descendant of her. She can have a whole new family. One that doesn't have to fight and struggle to maintain an existence. She accepts, so, I think, the story of Forerunner . . is actually just beginning. I thought it was a very good series. It had a lot of action and suspense, not to mention a great cast of characters. I just hope we get to see more of these guys in the near future. Keep it coming!